Tribute to Conservative Movement Pioneer, M. Stanton Evans
Photo credit: Young America’s Foundation

From the perspective of a former intern

Longtime luminary and pioneer of the modern conservative movement, M. Stanton Evans, passed away in his sleep early on March 3, 2015, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. A revered and respected figure, Evans will never be forgotten for his wit, intelligence, and significant knowledge of both current events and those that shaped our past and present. A graduate of Yale and highly respected former newsman, Evans left an imprint in the lives of many and his legacy has touched many inside and outside of Washington.

I have a professional connection to Mr. Evans, as I worked as one of his many interns in the selective National Journalism Center (NJC) program back one summer in the early 1990s. Having learned of the program via a college newspaper colleague, I applied for the program – and was rejected – twice; until a lucky break came through and I was finally accepted. Not knowing what to expect, as I had never even been to Washington, DC in my life, I didn’t realize what a profound effect that this opportunity would have in shaping my life and career to this very day. From the moment that I arrived on a sweltering, hot June day on the steps of 800 Maryland Avenue, I was about to experience a life and career transformation as I had never experienced.

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The NJC was established with the financial help of the American Conservative Union (ACU), of which he was head of in the 1970s. During that time, the structure of the program was to train aspiring journalists for careers in print journalism – six weeks in-house with an investigative journalism report that was discussed in individual weekly meetings with Evans, as well as a regular in-house speaker on current events. Then for the next six weeks, the intern would then venture out to a publication or other media outlet to learn the hands-on experience of a journalist and obtain practical skills for the day-to-day functions of the organization.

In my instance, I was assigned to Human Events – then located two blocks from Capitol Hill – and I thrived under the tutelage of my longtime friend and mentor John Gizzi, now the Chief White House correspondent for I learned interviewing skills, researching, and other forms of information gathering all in a dusty library – without computers, mobile phones, Internet or any other 21st century conveniences. I scored exclusive interviews with political candidates, media personalities, elected officials, and learned various procedures to gather information from various government entities. I loved every minute of it and then decided that I would return to DC after college to pursue a career in or related to journalism. Through those contacts, and others that I had met along the way, I was able to carve a niche and a career path that has proven rewarding and rich and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity that Stan and the NJC had provided for me.

The NJC has a number of high-profile alumni to include John Fund, Ann Coulter, Malcolm Gladwell, Richard Miniter, Terry Moran, and numerous other authors, journalists, think-tank fellows, and other success stories that could not have been possible without the efforts of M. Stanton Evans and his direction.

RIP Stan. You will be sorely missed. Your legacy and wisdom lives on in hundreds of articles and interviews, as this one from 2010 with Glenn Beck.

Jenny Kefauver

Virginia PolitiChick Jenny Kefauver is a longtime public relations professional who owns JK Public Relations. She works with a variety of clients including New York Times best-selling author Scott McEwen, author and investigative reporter Richard Miniter, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman/Killology Research Group, Southeastern Legal Foundation, Center for America, the American Media Institute, and others. She has been writing for since November, 2013 and has covered a wide variety of topics including parenting, politics, and a variety of others. She tweets @prmommydc.

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